Itchy skin is so annoying!
The scratching and persistent irritation can make it difficult to concentrate, feel comfortable when relaxing, and even interfere with sleep. It can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of itchy skin because there are so many possibilities, and some over-the-counter remedies can even make the itching worse.
Stop the scratching and the trial-and-error remedies. Let’s go over the most common causes for itchy skin and how we diagnose and treat them in our Indianapolis dermatology practice.
What’s Causing Your Itchy Skin?
One of the most common causes of itching is dry skin. Dry skin can be caused by environmental factors, such as low humidity and cold weather, or it can be a result of using the wrong type of soap, not drinking enough water, or taking medications that cause excessive dryness. In addition to being itchy, dry skin can often be cracked, scaly, and inflamed.
Contact dermatitis, another common cause of itching, is an inflammation of the skin that’s caused by direct contact with an irritant or allergen. The most common allergens are metals (nickel is a common culprit), fragrances, latex, and poison ivy. The itchy rash associated with contact dermatitis can show up anywhere on the body, but it’s most common on the hands, arms, and face.
Other causes of itchy skin include:
- eczema (a chronic skin condition that results in itchy, dry, inflamed, red skin)
- hives (itchy bumps and welts that appear on the body as a reaction to an allergen or irritant)
- psoriasis (a condition that causes itchy patches of thick, silver scales on the scalp, knees, elbows and lower back; it can also cause itchy skin in it’s early stages)
- fungal infection (itchy, red itchy bumps that look like blisters and can appear anywhere on the body; they’re caused by a fungus called tinea versicolor).
- bug bites or stings
Some underlying health problems may also lead to itching, such as varicose veins.
The itching associated with these conditions can be very intense and difficult to manage without medical treatment. If you’re experiencing itchy skin that’s accompanied by other symptoms such as a rash, red bumps, or welts that appear on the body after you’ve been in contact with an allergen or irritant, it’s important to visit your dermatologist for help.
How Our Indianapolis Dermatology Providers Help With Itchy Skin
Our treatments for your itchy skin depend on the cause, first and foremost. We begin with a consultation and evaluation to determine the cause of your itching. Diagnosis is crucial before we recommend treatments.
Help for Dry Skin
The right cream-based moisturizer typically works magic on dry skin, preferably one that is fragrance-free with no dyes. We also recommend reducing the temperature of your shower and reducing the number of showers you take in a week. Frequent showers in very hot water strip your skin of natural oils, leading to excessive dryness. Humidifiers are also very useful to improve air moisture and reduce skin dryness.
With other conditions, like contact dermatitis, we will work to identify the trigger of the reaction. Body wash fragrances, clothing dye, and metals can all lead to intense, unbearable itching with accompanying rash. Typically, we will recommend hydrocortisone cream to clear up the rash while avoiding the irritants.
Other Itchy Skin Considerations
Itching can also be the result of poor hygiene or using the wrong products. While showering too often in hot water can lead to dry, itchy skin, infrequent cleansing can also lead to build-up, irritation, and itching. Shower products with dyes and fragrances, or products that aren’t right for your skin’s needs can all contribute to unbearable, persistent itching.
Much of the time, we can trace the irritation to a new product, like a new laundry detergent or bath product. However, in some cases, it may be necessary for you to visit an allergist to determine if allergies are the cause.
Book an Appointment for Relief From Itchy Skin
It’s important that you see a dermatologist for help if the itching is interfering with daily activities and making it difficult for you to sleep at night. We can work together to determine the cause and develop a treatment plan that will help you get relief.
If you’re experiencing itchy skin, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with one of our dermatology providers at the Laser and Skin Surgery Center of Indiana! We’ll do everything we can to help you find relief and stop the itching and scratching!